Celebrate the start of the school year with the Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI)!
If you are interested in representing your South Asia focused student group at this event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAI Book Talk
Moeed Yusuf, Editor of Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Challenge and Director of South Asia Programs at the US Institute of Peace
Chair: Adil Najam, Professor of International Relations and Earth & Environment, Boston University
Dr.Yusuf has studied counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency responses in many countries including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal and other non-South Asian countries. In his talk, he will draw upon his two most recent edited volumes, Insurgencies and Counterinsurgencies in South Asia: Through a Peacebuilding Lens and Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Challenge to discuss the experience of South Asian countries with insurgencies, causes of their onsets, and the effectiveness of various strategies to counter them. He will apply these lessons to Pakistan’s current predicament. With 180 million people, the world’s fifth largest nuclear arsenal, and a festering insurgency internally and operating as a hub for cross-border militancy regionally, Pakistan remains a crucial security challenge for the U.S. He will shed light on the status of the terrorist threat to the Pakistani state and people, the opportunities and constraints in tackling it, and the way forward.
SAI Film Screening
Based on a true story that sent shock waves through India in 1992, this drama concerns Sanwari (Nandita Das), a lower-caste woman with a husband, Sohan (Raghuvir Yadav), and two children, who is raising her family in a rural village. While it’s generally Sanwari’s nature to mind her own business and take care of her family, when she sees a neighbor woman being mistreated by an man from the city’s upper caste, Sanwari is outraged and speaks out in public about the incident. Shobha (Deepti Naval), a social worker, is impressed by Sanwari’s conviction and hires her as an assistant as the Indian government begins implementing a program to give greater rights and protection to Indian women. While she’s timid at first, Sanwari soon comes to value her work as a feminist activist, but as she becomes more outspoken against sexism and abuse of caste position, she earns the enmity of many powerful men in the community. First Sanwari and her family are shunned by the local leaders, and then a group of men from the town’s leadership take their revenge by subjecting Sanwari first to a savage beating and then to a gang rape. Sanwari, Shobha, and Sohan refuse to be intimidated or silenced, and when the local leadership refuses to bring Sanwari’s attackers to justice, they bring the crime to the attention of the national media, leading people across the country to demand justice for Sanwari — and for women all over India.
Nandita Das, Actor and Director
Mukti Khaire, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Cara Moyer-Duncan, Scholar-in-Residence, Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College
Co-sponsored by the Arts and Social Justice Program and Mahindra Center for the Humanities
The SPK Academy, the LearnQuest Academy of Music and the Harvard South Asia Institute are excited to present an Indian Classical music concert by two world renowned musicians: sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan and tabla maestro Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. The on-stage chemistry between these musical virtuosos is simply electrifying and their performances always take Indian Classical music to new heights. Join the many passionate fans of these two living legends of India for an inspiring and memorable evening of music.
Doors open at 6:15PM. Pre-purchased ticket prices: $55, $35, $10 (students). At the door: $60, $40, $15 (students). Available at the Harvard Box Office website.
Muslim Societies in South Asia Seminar
Munis Faruqui, Associate Professor, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley
Chair: Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program
Cosponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program
For almost 200 years, the Mughal emperors ruled supreme in northern India. How was it possible that a Muslim, ethnically Turkish, Persian-speaking dynasty established itself in the Indian subcontinent to become one of the largest and most dynamic empires in the early-modern period? Using the figure of the Mughal prince, Munis D. Faruqui offers a new interpretive lens through which to comprehend Mughal state formation. In a challenge to previous scholarship, Prof. Faruqui’s work suggests that far from undermining the foundations of empire, the court intrigues and political backbiting that were features of Mughal political life – and that frequently resulted in rebellions and wars of succession – actually helped spread, deepen, and mobilize Mughal power through an empire-wide network of friends and allies. Ultimately, however, because Mughal imperial and princely success were interlinked when both experienced political stress in the late 1600s and early 1700s, they atrophied together with negative results for the empire.
Pramath Raj Sinha, Founding Dean of the Indian School of Business and a founder of Ashoka University
Chair: Akshay Mangla, Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School
Everyone knows Indian Higher Education is a mess. Proposals for its transformation abound, but things continue to go from bad to worse. Despite the doom and gloom, there are several recent experiments that attempt to challenge the status quo and set an example. This talk is a first-hand account of building new and transforming existing higher education institutions in India.
Smriti Srinivas, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
Chair: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Cosponsored by the Harvard University Social Anthropology Colloquium
This presentation seeks to understand the ethnographic and analytical registers of contemporary urban religiosity in India. Grounded spatially in Professor Srinivas’ long-term research in Bangalore, India’s “Silicon Valley” of nearly nine million people, it discusses what Srinivas calls the “sacrality of urban sprawl,” i.e. the fact that cities and their expanding boundaries (whether suburban, exurban, or peri-urban) are important arenas for the recruitment of devotees, the construction of habitats to house the religious, new spiritual maps, and ideas of selfhood.
An exploration of the strata and groups who inhabit these spaces is not the main focus of this paper. It is clear, however, that most could be seen as constituting the “new middle class” that represents and lays claim to the benefits of liberalization. Srinivas tries to show that in addition to consumption patterns and lifestyles, new norms of (religious) selfhood are crucial to the production of their identity. Further, while much attention in recent years has been paid to ideologies and displays of religious nationalisms, fundamentalisms and violence in urban areas, Srinivas draws attention in this paper instead to other maps, sensibilities, and architectures of religiosity.
Dr. Smriti Srinivas is Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis. She received her PhD. from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi (1995). Her research and teaching interests include urban cultures, place-making, utopias, social memory, cultures of the body and performance, religion, South Asia within a comparative context.
An exploration of the classical texts, spiritual teachings, epic narratives, and religious movements that have shaped a complex civilization for some three thousand years, from the Indus Valley to today.
This course surveys the development of Muslim communities in the region focusing on an exploration of their identities in diverse contexts. Issues and themes will be considered within religious and socio-political contexts, as well as the broader framework of South Asian cultures as expressed in language, literature, and the arts.
Instructor: Shankar Ramaswami, Lecturer, Department of South Asian Studies. This course will explore histories, politics, social relations, and subjectivities in modern India through close readings of novels, short stories, and autobiographies.
Pakistan Heritage is a research journal of the Department of Archaeology, School of Cultural Heritage and Creative Technologies, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan and is jointly edited by professionals from Hazara University and School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, United Kingdom.
SAI is excited to welcome six additional members to its Steering Committee, joining the 13 current members who provide guidance and advisement to SAI. The new members represent schools from across the university.
Harvard will be offering many South Asian courses in the Fall 2014 semester, covering topics such as Islamic law, social enterprise, Indian cinema, South Asian art, music in Islam, Buddhist scripture, and the Era of the 5th Dalai Lama.
Nora Maginn, SAI’s Program Manger, has won the 2014 Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Impact award, given to a small number of FAS staff, due to her excellent contributions to SAI and the Harvard community.
The South Asia Institute is looking for 2 student interns for the Fall 2014 semester, with a possibility of extending into the Spring 2015 Semester.
AIPS has limited travel grant funding to support travel for AIPS member colleagues to travel from Pakistan to the US (and from the US to Pakistan) for a conference or invited lecture.
Will you be traveling in South Asia this summer? If so, SAI wants to share your experience! There are many ways to stay connected with SAI.
Commencement exercises were held at Harvard University on May 29, 2014. Former SAI students, including student coordinators, Graduate Student Associates, and grant recipients received degrees from various Harvard schools.
Explore how entrepreneurship and innovation tackle complex health problems in emerging economies in this HarvardX course with Tarun Khanna and Sue Goldie.
Congratulations to David J. Barron, Honorable S. William Green Professor of Public Law, Harvard Law School and SAI Steering Committee member, on being confirmed by the full Senate for a seat on the bench of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals.
Congratulations to SAI Founder and Former SAI Director Sugata Bose on being elected to the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat in India’s national election. Bose won the seat in West Bengal as a Trinamool Congress candidate
This year, with the generous support of the Prasad family, the South Asia Institute has funded four Harvard College undergraduate students from various disciplines to study and complete internships in India this summer on issues ranging from the role of media in Indian democracy to environmental governance.
The South Asia Institute was feature in a story in the Harvard Gazette, published on March 14, 2014. The story profiles SAI’s growing involvement in Pakistan, and the Contemporary South Asian City Conference in Karachi in January.